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72 



BULLETIN OF THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO 




EIGHTEENTH CENTURY FRENCH FURNITURE IN GALLERY 14 



EIGHTEENTH CENTURY FRENCH FURNITURE 



AMONG the treasures to be found 
/~\ in the Museum are several pieces 
of French furniture of distinction 
which have been acquired from various 
sources. There is a commode, presented by 
the Antiquarian Society, with severe lines 
and somewhat square form which indicates 
that it originated during the long reign of 
Louis XIV. Its structure is somewhat 
heavy, the marquetry entirely geometric in 
pattern, and the ormolu or metal decora- 
tions restrained. 

In the style of the Regence is the chaise- 
longue with graceful curves and delicate 
rocaille carving. This style of double-caned 
divan was specially developed in the 
sumptuous atmosphere created by Louis 
XV. The wood is ungilded and the decora- 
tion is a repeat of the shell form on thin 
foliated motives. This choice piece is from 
the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Chauncey 
McCormick. From this same collection is 
the Louis XVI canape of carved and gilded 
wood with the typical partly rounded seat, 
short straight legs, and low back. The 
seat, arms, and back are covered with 
royal Aubusson tapestry of pastoral sub- 



jects and the chase; this is further embel- 
lished with heavily festooned lambrequins 
tied with ribbons. In the same style, the 
gift of Robert Allerton, is a bergere, the 
voluptuous form of the armchair; its down 
cushions are covered with an unusually fine 
Aubusson tapestry. The pattern of flower 
and figure motives in rose Pompadour and 
rich blue are on a daffodil-yellow back- 
ground. The gilded and carved frame has 
rigid lines carved in bands of classic inspira- 
tion, the legs channeled; and its tapestry is 
attached by round-headed nails placed 
close together forming a band. 

A secretaire a abattant made by Macret is 
a superlative example of the maitre ebeniste. 
Both the interior and exterior are patterned 
in marquetry veneer of varied woods, 
amaranth, tulip, rosewood, laburnum, and 
maple. It is further embellished with or- 
molu mounts and hardware. This beautiful 
desk is lent by Mr. and Mrs. Potter Palmer. 

On the walls of the small gallery where 
this furniture is being shown are two pieces 
of Beauvais tapestry, depicting the visit of 
Psyche to the palace of Cupid. These be- 
long to a loan collection.